THE POWER OF PEER SUPPORT
How we help our members
PEERS SUPPORTING PEERS
Getting assistance from someone who has been through the same experiences as you has tremendous value. At 7th Step, we place emphasis on learning from our members with lived experience being inside prisons across the country. Long-term 7th Step members are people who have been to prisons and have made significant changes in their lives so that they never go back.
New members can use the success of long-standing members as a model for their own recovery. Ex-offenders who have adapted their behavior are a source of motivation for new members looking for inspiration and these older members illuminate a road to recovery.
THE VOLUNTEER ELEMENT
Our group is governed by people involved in the criminal justice system to support people as they are released from prisons. Group decisions are made democratically, and everyone has a say in who is able to become a core group member. The society challenges offenders and volunteers to reflect on their actions, identify their strengths and weaknesses and seek to improve themselves by following the 7 Steps.
A unique aspect of our group is the volunteer. Using the volunteer as a role model, ex-offender members can see what actions, values and choices contributed to the volunteer’s success. Many volunteers have shared experiences with ex-offenders, these volunteers can offer the ex-offender a path to follow for their own recovery. No other peer support group includes the use of volunteers.
THE HOT SEAT
The 'hot seat" is used as a tool to encourage self-reflection by allowing other members of the group to question and challenge the actions and intentions of the person in the "hot seat".
Everyone must be hot seated to become a core group member. After they are done, members of the group will vote on whether or not to accept them as a core group member. Core group membership provides members with access to 7th Step meetings across the country and promotes responsibility that comes with being part of an in-group.
Potential members must come to at least 4 consecutive meetings to be eligible for the “hot seat” and they must receive 100% approval from the members in attendance.
We help those in need find, the services they didn't know they were looking for. With our informal navigation services, members help each other access supports in the community and make partnerships with other community groups in the process.